Manchester United Need To Solve Their Midfield Troubles. NOW!

Manchester United was on a high after their 5-0 win against RB Leipzig. Having played a back five against their win over PSG earlier during the group stages, they adopted the diamond against Leipzig and won comfortably. The diamond has worked well for OGS and Manchester United in the past, especially against the big teams.

Trying to build on their momentum, United welcomed Arsenal next to Old Trafford in Premier League.

The Diamond Returns for Manchester United In Midfield

Against Arsenal, Manchester United decided to go with a diamond in midfield. With Fred occupying the base of the diamond, Bruno Fernandes at the top, Paul Pogba and Scott McTominay on the left and right, respectively.

How Did The Midfield Perform?

It was an awful performance in the midfield. Paul Pogba looked like a distressed figure, unable to keep the ball. Trying to do a lot of flashy stuff but failing miserably. And ultimately giving away the penalty as a result of an absolute useless tackle which gave Arsenal the win over United. The question remains, should Pogba even be in this time considering how his form has been?

Fred looked far away from the awesome form he displayed against Leipzig. He was unable to hold or distribute the ball from the back effectively. Gave away a few unnecessary fouls. In the end, did not do justice to his cause or United’s. He was replaced by Matic in the 62′ minute. Matic had a similar game, without an actual worthwhile contribution till the final whistle blew.

McTominay played on the right. He was pretty much non-existent playing there. He looks to be better suited at the base of the diamond, which is what he did when Matic came on. Did an okay job of covering the back four.

Then it leaves Bruno Fernandes, who has been a revelation since joining United. However, it may be the stress of playing too many games without rest. Or the fact that he had to provide defensive cover so often during the match that he did not justify his position on top of the diamond. At times, it felt like United were playing without a number 10. During the 75′ minute, Donny Van De Beek replaced Bruno Fernandes as the number 10. Did not do anything substantial in the last 15 minutes.

United had a woeful game and lost to Arsenal 0-1 thanks to Aubameyang’s penalty. Special mention on Thomas Partey who had a fantastic game and ruled the midfield.

Next up – Istanbul Basaksehir vs Manchester United

Photograph: Serkan Hacioglu/BPI/REX/Shutterstock

Manchester United traveled to Fatih Terim Stadium for the next Champions League group stage match against Istanbul Basaksehir.

For this game, OGS switched formations again to 4-2-3-1. With Van De Beek, Matic, and Bruno Fernandes in the midfield. Juan Mata & Rashford on right & left, respectively, with Martial in the attack.

How did Manchester United’s midfield perform?

Van De Beek is getting his chances now. How he chooses to perform and grab them is a different thing. He shows signs of class. His one-touch play at times seems impeccable. But at certain times, it seems he is playing on a different tangent than the other United players. Maybe he needs a little more time to settle in. Overall, he did not create enough to cause any trouble for the Turkish side. He was replaced by Paul Pogba, who proved to be even more useless after coming on. OGS seriously needs to consider how to deal with this Pogba situation.

Bruno Fernandes had another game to forget. He tried to link up with Van De Beek, with Pogba, Mata, and Martial. But nothing ticked. He had a thoroughly disappointing game. He needs to get the spark back which he showed straight after signing for United.

Matic was a shadow of his old self. He used to be world-class. A great cover CDM. He still might be. But he needs to find his form again. He might not be exactly at fault for Demba Ba’s goal with Luke Shaw and other defenders out of position. But he was the last line of United’s defense.

Scott McTominay came on for Axel Tuanzebe after half-time. OGS claims it was move because Tuanzebe was on a yellow card. However, did not help United’s cause at all.

Additional Mention

Mata, looked a desolate figure when playing on the wing. He was just not doing enough. He is a brilliant reader of the game. But not playing on his preferred position, makes him look like a player way past his best.

Basaksehir beat United 2-1.

The game was a tactical disaster. The players did not show any energy or will to win. Rafael had a good game against his old club.

What’s Next?

Everton vs Manchester United Preview
Everton vs Manchester United Preview (image source: Liverpool Echo)

On Saturday, Manchester United travel to Goodison Park to face Everton in their next Premier League match. Everton is fourth vs United who ate fifteenth in the Premier League.

How will Manchester United’s midfield look like? Would it be a diamond again or will they go with 4-2-3-1?

One thing is for certain, United really need to do well and win this. For the players, for the managers, and for the fans!

Author: PM

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